Cambridge Festival of Ideas

The University of Cambridge is getting ready to open its doors once again for the 10th annual Festival of Ideas.  Themed this year, very pertinently, around “Truth”, the Festival (sister to the Science Festival held each Spring) celebrates the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Festival of Ideas logo
Image by University of Cambridge

In a packed programme of over 200 events, you will find talks, exhibitions, films, performances, debates and workshops, all held in museums, galleries and lecture theatres across the city.  Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Junction are among other organisations which will  also be running programmes within the Festival.

This is an event that I look forward to every year and I’m not the only one.  Ariel Retik, Manager of the Festival, tells me that more than 20,000 people attended the Festival in 2016 and they expect this year to be even bigger.  In an eclectic line-up, there really is something for everyone, whether your interest lies in politics, history, the arts, literature or music or whether you just want to open your mind to new ideas.  Most events are free.  Some need to be booked in advance and, from personal experience, I recommend early booking.

With such a large number of events taking place all over the city, volunteers are needed for stewarding duties.  If you are over 16 years old and would like to volunteer, you can email the Public Engagement Team on cfi@admin.cam.ac.uk to make yourself known.

The Festival of Ideas runs from 16 – 29 October.  The full programme is available online and booking, online or by phone, opens on 25 September.

http://www.festivalofideas.cam.ac.uk

Booking lines 01223 766766, open Monday – Friday 11am – 3pm

The Architect

The nights are drawing in and there’s a nip in the air ….. my thoughts are turning to comfort food and I think I’ve just found my perfect comfort food destination.

Architect frontage

Business partners Luke Edwards and Stuart Tuck, who also own and run The Blue Lion at Hardwick, have refurbed The Architect pub on Castle Street and have brought a new food concept to the city, based around the nation’s favourite dishes of fish and chips and pie and mash.  You design your own meal, following the menu to choose a main, a covering, a side dish and a sauce to create your ideal combination.  There’s also a snack menu from which you can design your own sharing board.

Architect sharing plate
Image by The Architect

We mixed and matched merrily and enjoyed a delicious lunch.  My steak and kidney pie was full of rich, tender meat in a golden, light pastry case and came with my choice of grainy mustard mash, braised red cabbage and a red wine and rosemary jus.  My husband tucked into the classic favourite, cod in a crisp beer batter with excellent sweet potato fries, minted garden peas and a rustic tartare sauce.

Vegetarians and those who prefer to eat gluten free are well catered for here.  Service is relaxed yet attentive.  The pub is family friendly with a children’s menu coming soon and well behaved dogs are welcome in the bar area.

Print
Image by The Architect

A selection of eight craft beers, ranging from stout to weisse beer, is supplied by Everards of Leicester.  If you can’t decide which beer to go for, you can create your own tasting panel; three one third of a pint samples of the beers of your choice.  The pub also offers hand pump cider and craft lagers while the gin menu presents over twenty gins, so that’s me sorted!  Now, where do I start …..??

Facebook @thearchitectcb3   Twitter @PubArchitect    Instagram @pubarchitect

43 Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AH

John Lewis – The Residence

Unfettered access to John Lewis was a huge thrill when I moved to Cambridge from the depths of the Essex countryside two years ago.  And it still is, so when I heard there was the chance of a sleepover in the store’s new apartment, The Residence, I wasted no time in checking it out.

Showcasing John Lewis’s Autumn ranges, The Residence is up on the 3rd Floor, next to the Espresso Bar.  You can browse and get inspiration for your own home while the Concierge will happily signpost you to products and services in store to help you achieve the look you’re after.  They’re also planning to run free workshops on choosing bedding, creating a lighting scheme and entertaining at home.

JL Residence bedroom

I have to say, The Residence does look pretty comfortable.  The dining area features a beautiful collectors’ cabinet designed in collaboration with the V&A while the seating area boasts a jewel coloured velvet chaise end sofa and a framed TV that becomes a picture at the click of a button. And the bed, dressed in velvet and fur throws with plump cushions, looked so inviting that I had to resist the urge to sink into it and take a nap (inappropriate at 10.30 in the morning, I felt!).

The next sleepover, which runs from 6pm to 9am, is on 14 October.  Items such as bed linen, pillows, beauty and home fragrance products can be customised as you wish in a try before you buy experience.  The delightful Concierge assured me that John Lewis has successfully trialled this event, so my fears about people running amok in soft furnishings during the small hours or setting off an alarm whilst stumbling to the loo at 3am were allayed.  The Concierge will serve midnight snacks and a continental breakfast from Waitrose and will remain in store through the night.

To win this sleepover, or a brunch for six people (if a night in the department store doesn’t appeal!) visit the Concierge at The Residence this weekend (23/24 September) and fill in an entry form.

http://www.johnlewis.com/our-shops/cambridge

10 Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3DS

 

Cambridge Film Festival

With more than a hundred screenings over eight days, the 37th Cambridge Film Festival truly offers something to interest everyone.  Programmers have sourced fresh material at international film festivals and have sifted through a wealth of submissions to bring a varied and full line-up of films and events to the city from 19 – 26 October.

The schedule includes UK premieres, retrospectives, documentaries, discovery titles from across the world, family favourites and late night screenings of cult movies.

37th CFF Logo 2017 Red Black smaller
Image by Cambridge Film Festival

The Festival’s main venue is the Arts Picturehouse Cinema in St Andrew’s Street with screenings also being held at Emmanuel College, just opposite.  The Heong Gallery at Downing College in Regent Street will host a free Microcinema programme, organised around the theme of “Archive and Memory” and  encompassing both contemporary and historical work.  Cinemobile, the Picturehouse travelling cinema lorry which tranforms into a hundred seater, air conditioned venue, will be stationed on Parker’s Piece and will showcase the work of local film makers.

Cambridge Film Trust, a charity founded to promote film culture in the East of England, runs this event under the leadership of Festival Director, Tony Jones.  His team is supported by a band of volunteers who work four hour shifts in a variety of roles and who are rewarded with complimentary tickets to screenings.  For more information and to apply to be a volunteer, check out the “Get Involved” page of the Festival website.

The full film programme will be announced in late September with details of screenings and events updated on the Festival website.  You can book through Arts Picturehouse online, by telephone or in person when tickets go on sale in early October.

http://www.cambridgefilmfestival.org.uk

http://www.picturehouses.com/cinema/Arts_Picturehouse_Cambridge

38 – 39 St Andrew’s Street, Cambridge CB2 3AR

 

The Amnesty Bookshop

Browsing in the second hand bookshops here in Cambridge is one of my not-so-guilty pleasures and the Amnesty Bookshop, which has just relocated to the Parker’s Piece end of Mill Road, is a real gem that I keep coming back to.

Amnesty Bookshop

 

One of eight Amnesty bookshops, located in cities across the UK, the shop has been part of the vibrant Mill Road community since 1998.  Funds raised here go to support the work of Amnesty International as it stands up for humanity and human rights and works to protect women, men and children wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Run by Manager, David Float, and staffed by a team of around forty enthusiastic, spirited and committed volunteers, the shop is thriving.  New volunteers are always welcome so David would be happy to hear from you either in person or by email to cambridgebookshop@amnesty.org.uk if you would like to make yourself known and find out more.

David believes that the city is very in tune with the work of Amnesty International and the shop enjoys huge support, both in terms of sales and book donations of all sizes (their largest single donation in the past year comprised six thousand books!).  Further sales are made online through Amazon.

The shelves in this bright shop are neatly ordered with a wealth of sections ranging from the occult to gardening.  While novels are always in demand, art, philosophy and religion are bestselling categories with the anthropology and cosmology sections also proving popular.  A selection of vinyl is for sale alongside sheet music and greetings cards.  In the run up to the festive season, Amnesty International T shirts, tote bags, calendars and Christmas cards will be stocked.

http://www.amnesty.org.uk/books-amnesty-cambridge

4 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2AD

 

The Locker Cafe

I love King Street.  Where else in Cambridge can you have a wet shave, buy a ukulele and replenish your art supplies, all without walking more than a few paces?  And now a new cafe, The Locker, has just opened.

 

Locker Cafe frontage

Co-owned by Cambridge residents John and Adam Hodges, it is a real family affair.  Dad, John, had a long held ambition to open a cafe in the city and when son, Adam, returned from a spell living abroad, they decided to go for it.  Having acquired their premises in June, they worked hard on a total refurb and opened at the end of August.

They’ve done a great job.  The cafe is light, airy and spacious with seating on the ground and first floors and a small balcony for sunny days.  Art on the walls, curated by Adam’s mother, is for sale and sculpture is also exhibited.  The team has future plans for live music and private hire of the cafe for events.

Locker Cafe balcony

I visited mid-morning and enjoyed a pot of green tea with an excellent white chocolate and raspberry blondie.  Service was cheerful and charming.  A small breakfast menu includes organic muesli, yoghurt, berries and sourdough toast.  Cakes and other baked goods are served through the day while lunchtime offerings include sausage rolls, sandwiches, panini and bruschette.  The menu includes vegan and gluten free options.

The tea selection is by T2, an Australian brand which Adam came to know during his time abroad.  The hot chocolate is also an Australian brand but the coffee comes from nearer home as it’s supplied by local coffee legends Hot Numbers, who have created Davy’s blend especially for the cafe.

And finally, I have to mention the four legged member of the family, Adam’s much loved border collie dog, Davy Jones, who inspired not only the name of this new venture but also that signature coffee blend.

Opening hours are Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday 9.30am – 5.30pm and Sunday 10am – 4pm.

Instagram @thelockercafe,  Facebook The Locker Cafe

54 King Street, Cambridge CB1 1LN